Mid-American Conference play is well underway and only one team remains unbeaten. The conference is top-heavy, and sorting out the teams is challenging.
Here are the power rankings:
1. Buffalo (15-3, 6-1 MAC)
Although they aren’t undefeated like Central Michigan, the Bulls are the class of the MAC. They survived on the road at Ohio on Jan. 17. Buffalo’s only loss in conference play was an overtime loss at Northern Illinois. The Bulls currently are No. 20 in RPI.
2. Central Michigan (15-3, 7-0 MAC)
Central Michigan is the only remaining undefeated team in the MAC, and it is No. 39 in RPI. The Chippewas have wins over Ohio, Ball State and Bowling Green, but haven’t faced Buffalo yet. Those two will meet Jan. 31 in Buffalo.
3. Eastern Michigan (9-9, 5-2 MAC)
The Eagles struggled in non conference play, but have the third best record in MAC play and are tough at home. Toledo learned that the hard way when the Eagles beat the Rockets.
4. Toledo (13-6, 4-3 MAC)
The Rockets play hard, but even more so in Savage Arena; they’ve yet to lose at home. Their three losses in conference are to Eastern Michigan, Ohio and Buffalo. All three were on the road.
5. Ball State (15-3, 4-3 MAC)
Ball State entered MAC play undefeated. The Cardinals then lost their first game of conference play to Central Michigan. They went on a three-game winning streak, then lost back-to-back games to Buffalo and Toledo. Three straight home games are in the Cardinals' future.
6. Ohio (10-8, 4-3 MAC)
The Bobcats’ defense can get after it. It averages 24.06 turnovers per game, which is third nationally. Shooting woes have held Ohio back, but with the defense it plays with, it will be in every game and can still contend for a MAC Championship.
7. Western Michigan (11-8, 4-3 MAC)
The Broncos are in the middle of the pack in nearly every major category, and the middle is where they find themselves. The schedule doesn’t favor Western Michigan. After a road game with Akron, the Broncos will play at Central Michigan and host Toledo.
8. Northern Illinois (10-8, 2-5 MAC)
The Huskies have struggled lately; they’ve lost four straight games. The losing streak may not stop there, though. Their next two games are on the road at Ohio and Ball State, two teams that give up less than 66 points per game. The good news: the Huskies are No. 3 in the MAC in scoring offense, averaging over 80 points per game.
9. Bowling Green (10-8, 2-5 MAC)
If not for a five-game losing streak of its own, Bowling Green might be in a better position to compete in February. The Falcons got back on track with wins over Akron and Kent State, but lost to Ohio at home. If there is any silver lining, its that the Falcons gave the Bobcats everything they could handle.
10. Miami (10-8, 2-5 MAC)
The only reason the Redhawks find themselves so low is because their MAC schedule has been tough. They’ve lost to Buffalo, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan and Ball State. The good news for Miami is the schedule lightens up in February.
11. Kent State (9-10, 2-5 MAC)
Kent State already has as many losses in conference this season that it had last season. Things are looking bleak in Kent, especially with a trip to Toledo on the horizon.
12. Akron (6-12, 0-7 MAC)
The Zips are still searching for their first conference win. Saturday’s matchup with Kent State could be Akron’s chance.